FORUMS: list search recent posts

What lights will I need to light a park at night?

COW Forums : Cinematography

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
ryan elder
What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 22, 2018 at 11:31:47 pm

I am shooting a movie that has chase scenes at the park at night. I did some tests, and it seems that in order to have enough DOF for the chase, and all of the actors movement, I will have to shoot at at least f11 I think, which is pretty dark at night.

I tried LED lights before in this fake commercial short film project, but as you can see, there is a lot of noise with the LED lights, once it gets to the park scene. This was shot at f11:







So are their any lights that can be bright enough for f11, when shooting at night?


Return to posts index

Todd Terry
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 22, 2018 at 11:38:46 pm

[ryan elder] "So are their any lights that can be bright enough for f11"

Yeah. HMIs.

Though shooting f/11 at night is madness.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 12:06:03 am

Okay thanks. If shooting at f11 at night is madness, is there anything else I can do since I need to keep more than one actor in focus, like in that scene example?


Return to posts index


Blaise Douros
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 4:24:19 pm

Yep, there's definitely something you can do: don't shoot the scene at night. Either change the script, or shoot day-for-night.


Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 4:54:33 pm

Okay thanks, but I was told on here before to avoid day for night, as it would take 100 times longer in post I was told back when I posted about having problems with it in post, and I was told to just shoot at night to begin with.

As for changing the script. The villains are committing a crime, that would logically be done at night. They wouldn't do it in the day time cause there are too logically too many witnesses around, so in order to make plausible sense, it has to be done at night.

But I was told before on here that shooting at night was a lot easier than trying to fake day for night and trying to make it look convincing. So if that's true, then shouldn't I just suck it up and shoot at actual night then?


Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 4:56:36 pm

This is the post when I was told that day for night is a lot more work and to just shoot at night intead:

https://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/2/1129730


Return to posts index


Blaise Douros
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:20:57 pm

I didn't say that was a GOOD option. Just that if you have decided that you must shoot at f11, those are your ONLY options. So something's gotta give. Change the way you shoot it, change the time you shoot it, or spend more money.

You persist in coming here and arguing with people who know what we're talking about, since you've decided that It Must Be A Certain Way. Reality often doesn't line up with what you want.

Shoot at night, and open up your aperture. If you need deeper depth of field, use wider lenses. If you must have long lenses, get ready to do a lot of takes so your focus puller can get it right.

Otherwise, accept that it is physically impossible for you to shoot at f11 at nighttime without more lights than you can afford.


Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:25:21 pm

Okay thanks. Sorry I am just trying to shoot it the most simplest way possible, and thought that having a deep DOF, with brighter lights, would really help that.

If I shoot at a shallow DOF, do you think it would look acceptable during a chase that involves 3 villains, chasing 2 heroes, if not all the villains are in focus at the same time, while they are running? If all three are in the shot, and only one of them is in focus, will that look weird or incorrect somehow, since during chase scenes, usually all the people are in focus, when close together?

If I have to choose a wider aperture, what is the most acceptable one before it's too dark to shoot do you think? Would say, f4, be okay?


Return to posts index

Blaise Douros
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:55:36 pm

It fully depends on the scene. If you're smart, you'll choreograph it so important moments happen under streetlights and by buildings that could plausibly create opportunities to light your subjects. That'll give you a lot more flexibility.

Shoot wider lenses. That'll help with your DOF. I know you have some Kurosawa thing as the model, but you need to change plans if you have five people in frame.

You can also plan the scene carefully so your focus puller has set marks to hit.

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a couple of robberies staged in the daytime (or at least, fully lit) that make full sense in context of the movie's script:













And one at night that leans on splashes of light and a partially lit environment to illuminate the characters:







As the script writer, you have FULL control of when and where things happen. A night shoot isn't going to work for technical reasons? Then find a reason for the robbery to happen during the day! A couple of lines will do it:

"Shouldn't we be doing this at night?"
"Yeah, we should. But my regular alarm guy is in the middle of a two year sentence for B&E. That's why we have to break in at noon: the owner locks the shop when he goes to lunch, but doesn't set the alarm."

Boom, you're in business. The film isn't in charge. You are.


Return to posts index


Todd Terry
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:57:54 pm

A brilliant list of examples and suggestions by Blaise.

Which, I suspect at this point, will fall on deaf ears.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 6:15:43 pm

Okay thanks.

Basically my script is a horror thriller, and I was told by friend's suggestions that if I could have at least some of it take place at night, that it would be scarier. Mainly the villains want to kill two people who know too much, and a threat to them.

One is at one point during the story, the other is during another point. So that would be two sequences at night, where they would want to kill them in dark places, where witnesses can't just identify what is going on as easily compared to the day.

If I were to use wide prime lenses. Would a 35mm do, to get more DOF or do I need wider than that?

As for shooting around street lights, there are a few lights in the park, but in order to get there, the person running away from her killers has to get to the light. And that is were the darkness comes in, is that she has to run from her house to the park, to the light, and there is darkness in between. I don't know have to show the whole running, and can skip ahead, but I still have to show her leaving the house and entering the park for it to make sense.


Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 6:17:35 pm

What about a scene like this shot at night?







It's actually quite dark, and not lit very much accept for around the actor. Could I make something like that work, but with five actors around?


Return to posts index


Blaise Douros
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 9:33:00 pm

Yes, you could do this--you'll just need to block the scene carefully. Lens choice depends on camera and sensor--for APS-C/Super-35 I'd be looking at 28mm on the wider shots, and 35mm for medium shots. No longer than 85mm for the whole scene, I'd say. Wide lenses could make it so your victim is (a) isolated in the frame in a sea of black, which is effective, and (b) allow you to get closer to your victim while still showing enough background to bring the killers into the background-to-midground in clearer focus. As for getting to a park, you have plenty of opportunity to show this--porch lights would easily motivate some spillage light as we see her run into the bushes. Or have her pause under a streetlight on the other side of the street, look back, and see the killers come running around her house. Then she ducks into the bushes, and boom, we're in the park.

Good location scouting and storyboarding will help you to plan this stuff.


Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 9:54:29 pm

Okay thanks.

It was said before that f11 is way too closed to be shooting at night, but could I get away with f5.6 as long as I get enough lights in there, or is that still too crazy too shot at?


Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 23, 2018 at 10:11:52 pm

Actually maybe wide lenses for some action shots are the way to go cause according this:

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

On a 35 at f2.8 at night, I can get 10 feet of space that is in focus perhaps. If f2.8 is enough. In this example I posted before, we shot on the Sony A7s:







Now as you can see there is a lot of noise at night. I read that the A7s is able to see very well at night. However, what aperture do you need to shoot at if shooting under street lights for example, for it still be able to see very well without noise?


Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 26, 2018 at 11:05:54 pm

On your budget of zero dollars, shoot day for night, but shoot at dusk or early morning, so you have at least some level of overall light. Then play with it in post; this is much easier to do now than even 2 years ago.

You could add a fake streetlight anywhere you need one: just put a lamp on a pole and frame so the pole isn't seen... or make a prop pole that's just high enough to fill your frame.


Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 26, 2018 at 11:09:12 pm

Okay thanks, but the problem with shooting that early in the morning is that the light changes after an hour. Most scene shoots can take up to six or more hours, especially if it's a big scene with lots going on as is this, so I am going to need more than an hour in the morning to shoot it though.


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 27, 2018 at 2:57:12 pm

Are you re-doing "Apocalypse Now"?!??

I can't imagine why or how it could take you that long to shoot some guys running thru a park scene. Even with multi-angle coverage. Do they stop in the middle for an hour of dialogue? Maybe you could describe the scene in more detail, and I'd get it?


Return to posts index


ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 27, 2018 at 10:01:51 pm

Well basically these killers are chasing a woman through the park, cause the character knows too much and they want to silent her. She calls the police, and the main character, a cop, gets the call, and realizes that it's his case and he goes to the park to look for her to an intervene before it's too late. So it's a lot more than just running, but a chase, and hide and seek game, told from different character's perspectives, which leads to a fight, a gun stand off, and some shootings. So it would take quite a while to shoot in my experience, with shooting action scenes before.


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 29, 2018 at 8:06:35 pm

Not six-plus hours. For an outdoor shoot that's basically un-lit except for the sun and maybe one practical....Unless it was a big-budget Hollywood movie.

You don't need huge wide shots for this, except maybe for a single establishing shot that it's a park. Your chase and shoot-out actions are all things that can be shot in a smaller space within that park or forest or whatever. In fact you could use that to your advantage, if it's for example a very dense forest and the trees block everything in the distance by creating little slits in the visual field, like peep-holes, or slats in a privacy fence, thru which the pursuing figures move, and the pursued figure hides. Like a Bev Doolittle painting of horses among birch trees or the like. Most of the bullet hits in the gun battle will be glancing off the trees, until the combatants can close to rock-throwing ranges. This also gives the lighting plot a look of dappled light and shadow, which you can post-process as day-for-night if needed, but it need not *be* night to make this a cool sequence. You'd need to find the right kind of dense wooded terrain, and create the motivation/excuse for the characters to end up in it. It would work the same if it was a lumber yard, or a warehouse full of shelf units and pallets, a train yard with many parallel tracks and sets of boxcars, a Library stacks area, a large cube-farm of identical paneled workstations, like Neo's day job in The Matrix... a packed public car garage, etc. And the garage or library seems like it makes more sense as a place for the chase to happen than some park... but I haven't read your script. Chases are often boring, because they're not clever, don't really have believable stakes, or they don't actually move the plot along. Often, they are set-pieces the director and camera op are staging to show off their skills, but that's ego, not story-telling.


Return to posts index

ryan elder
Re: What lights will I need to light a park at night?
on Aug 29, 2018 at 9:57:05 pm

Okay thanks, but in my experience, chase sequences take longer to shoot cause they require more shots. They don't all have to be wide shots, but they require a lot more shots, compared to simple dialogue scenes, and therefore it would take probably a few hours I am guessing, more than it takes for the sun to rise at dawn for sure.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2018 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]